By Kaylee Pearlman
RIVERSIDE, CA – The jury trial—penalty phase—for convicted quadruple murderer Jose Vladimir Larin-Garcia proceeded in the Riverside Superior Court late last week.
Larin-Garcia was found guilty of the 2019 murders Feb. 3, after his first trial jury hung in 2022.
The prosecution is currently arguing for the death penalty for Larin-Garcia. The defense is asking the jury to spare the life of this 23-year-old with sentencing him to life in prison without parole.
One of the witnesses said how full of life her ex-boyfriend Carlos Campos Rivera was before he was found to be one of the victims in the quadruple shooting of 2019. She stated, “[he] was very outgoing, funny, goofy, very caring.” Through tears, she continued, “[he] made everyone smile.”
The couple had a son together, and the witness described Rivera “being a dad, loving him, making sure he (the son) had a great childhood. He was a loving, caring dad. I’m sure if he was alive he would love his daughter, too.”
The other witness called to the stand by the prosecuting attorney, Samantha Paixo, was correctional officer Jorge Perez. In his testimony, he discussed the interaction he had with the accused, Larin-Garcia, in January 2020.
In this incident, Officer Perez noted that before the inmates are transferred to court, they are searched for contraband. Officer Perez stated Larin-Garcia, in preparation for the search procedures “started to do other things he wasn’t supposed to do like tapping on the wall and being disruptive.”
Officer Perez told him to stop, and when Larin-Garcia did not comply, Perez, “removed him from the other inmates and placed him in a separate room so I can continue with the other inmates.”
When Officer Perez was finished, he testified that he returned to the room, with three other officers to retrieve Larin-Garcia.
Officer Perez claimed that he instructed Larin-Garcia to bend over and shake his hair so he could “check for contraband.” The officer testified that, “he [Larin-Garcia], didn’t do it all the way.”
The officer stated in his testimony that he was going to “run his fingers through his hair himself.” When he went to reach for the accused’s hair, Larin-Garcia swatted the officer’s hand away. Officer Perez then grabbed his right hand, and the other three officers helped with pulling the accused to the floor.
Officer Perez admitted, “The other officers used additional force to bring him down.” DDA Paixo asked the witness if the use of force was necessary to bring Larin-Garcia down. Officer Perez testified it was necessary because Larin-Garcia was “uncooperative.”
Defense attorney John Dolan asked the officer if they had struck the accused in the face. Officer Perez replies with “yes” and when asked how many times, he replied, “Three times I believe.”
Attorney Dolan continued to ask about the beating. Officer Perez stated he did see the other officer strike Larin-Garcia in the face. However, when asked about the cameras, Perez replied with, “I can’t recall if the cameras in the area were recording.”
Finally, Dolan asked “was striking him in the face three times justified if there was no struggle going down?”
Officer Perez responded, “I can’t recall, not for the other deputies.” Dolan rebutted, “You just testified that the use of force was justified, so how do you know if it’s justified or not?” Officer Perez did not respond to Dolan’s questions and instead kept replying with, “I can’t recall.”